Must-Have Cross Stitch Supplies For Beginners

Cross stitch is a very affordable and fun hobby. You don’t need much to get started. In fact, you can purchase everything you’ll need for under $100, maybe even cheaper! Below are some recommendations for what to buy for cross stitching.

Disclaimer: This post has some affiliate links in it. I receive a small commission from purchases at no additional cost to the buyer. I only recommend products I would use and love and that are of good quality. All opinions are my own!

Essential Cross Stitch Supplies For Beginners

a flatlay of an assortment of cross stitch supplies for beginners: Aida fabric, needles, an embroidey hoop, and colorful thread


Even weave fabrics are ideal to use for counted cross stitch because the patterns are designed on a grid that correlates with the threads of the fabric. You’ll be keeping track of and counting the stitches you make along the fabric, so the weave of the fabric should be even and easily visible.


Aida cloth is the most popular choice for beginners because it has a very visible weave, which makes the holes in the fabric more easy to count. (One cross stitch fits over one square.) This fabric is generally made of cotton and is less pliable and a bit stiffer than most embroidery fabrics.

The most common thread counts (the number of threads per square inch) this fabric comes in are 11, 14, 16, and 18. The higher the thread count, the smaller the threads that make up the fabric will be. The lower the thread count, the larger the threads will be.

Linen is another great fabric to use for cross stitching, but I recommend practicing on Aida fabric first because it is the easiest to visibly count and keep track of your stitches.

Aida fabric is widely available in most craft stores as well as Amazon and Etsy.

an embroidery hoop with aida cloth in it

Embroidery Hoops and Frames

Embroidery hoops and frames help to stabilize the fabric and prevent it from wrinkling or puckering while you are stitching. They also keep any extra fabric out of the way and give you something to hold while working, which can help prevent hand fatigue.

If you’re using Aida fabric, it will be stiff enough that you don’t necessarily need an embroidery hoop to cross stitch with, but most people prefer to use one.

If you’re using a softer, more pliable fabric such as linen or even-weave you will definitely need some sort of hoop or frame in place while you are stitching.

Choose the hoop size based on the size of the design you are using. It helps to get one that’s slightly larger than the design, but it also doesn’t hurt to move the hoop around the fabric in the area you are stitching if the design is very large.

Check out these beechwood hoops that are some of my favorite ones.

a tapestry needle in fabric surrounded by embroidery floss


There are two different types of needles you’ll want to have available for cross stitch: tapestry and embroidery needles. Both of these kinds of needles come in different sizes; it never hurts to grab an assortment of them. You’ll want to choose the needle size according to the thread count of the fabric and the number of threads you are using

Check out this needle size guide to learn more.


When you work with Aida and other cross stitch fabrics, you’ll need to use a tapestry needle. This needle has a long, oval eye and a blunt tip so that it doesn’t snag the fabric as you are making stitches. You’ll be going into the holes of the fabric when you are making basic cross stitches, not the individual threads of the fabric.

Embroidery Needles

There are a few instances where you’ll need to use an embroidery needle for cross stitch.

An embroidery needle has a sharp tip and large eye. DMC needles size 8 or 9 should be adequate to use since cross stitch normally uses 2 strands of embroidery floss.

If you are working with fabrics that are not Aida or even weave (i.e. tightly woven fabrics / clothing) you’ll want to use an embroidery needle to pierce through the fabric. French knots and fractional stitches will also require a sharper needle to go through the threads.


tin of DMC stranded cotton embroidery floss

In most cases, cross stitch uses 2 strands of thread, so you’ll want to purchase stranded cotton embroidery floss. DMC is one of the most popular and widely available brands. They have a large variety of colors and the thread is colorfast, which means the colors won’t bleed onto the fabric or fade over time.


A pair of sharp embroidery scissors or thread snips is a must to cut your thread. I like to have a designated pair that I don’t use for anything else but this purpose. Purchase some nice sharp ones on Etsy and Amazon.

embroidery floss on thread bobbins

Nice To Have Accessories

A tin or pin cushion to store your needles is another helpful accessory to have.

Once you start using skeins of floss, you’ll want to store the leftover thread on thread bobbins and put them in a thread box. It makes it way easier to organize and store all of the different colors.

And that’s it! Those are all of the essential supplies you should start out with! Now you can get started stitching by hopping over to this beginner’s guide to cross stitch or learn about even more helpful cross stitch accessories and tools.

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